“Meri Maggi: Miss you too Yaar”
Does the headline ring a bell? Do you remember the ban of India’s legendry quick snack, back in year 2015? When FSSAI claimed Maggi to be unsafe and ordered to destroy all the packets available in market, then how did Nestle overcome the situation to relaunch its heroic product? Let’s analyze!!
STORY BEHIND ‘THE MAGGI BAN’
In 2014, Sanjay Singh, a food inspector at UP government’s Food Safety and Drug spotted the label that claimed “no added MSG (monosodium glutamate)” on the bright-yellow packets of Maggi noodles. Having done his PhD in organic chemistry and being inquisitive, Singh picked up a sample and sent it to the state laboratory at Gorakhpur for testing and the result was positive.
To be double sure, Samples of Maggi were then sent to Central Food Laboratory in Kolkata (in June 2014). The results that almost after a year i.e. in April 2015 read: “MSG: Present and Lead: 17.2ppm (parts per million)”. The amount of lead was over 1,000 times more than what Nestle had claimed.
Immediately, an explanation for high MSG content was seeked from the company. However, Nestle was adamant of not violating any food safety standards. They failed to take proactive measures to investigate into the matter. As a result of it, on June 2015, FSSAI asked Nestle to recall Maggi Noodles.
‘MAGGI BAN’- A NIGHTMARE FOR NESTLE
The Ban by FSSAI proved to be a shocker for Nestle. The company not only had to recall its inventory available in the market but also had to empathize with its enraged consumers.
Protestors wasted no time venting their anger and in some streets smashed and set fire to the packs of noodles as well as the photos of Bollywood stars who were endorsing the brand.
Apart from the consumer protests, Nestlé lost at least $277 million in missed sales. Another 70 million dollars were spent to execute one of the largest food recalls in history (Nestle collected 38,000 tonnes of Maggi from various retail stores). Add the damage to its brand value, the entire debacle costed Nestle around half a billion dollars.
‘THE RETURN OF MAGGI’
After the entire fiasco, Nestle spent a huge chunk of money on marketing activities, to revive its legendary brand. Nestle’s PR team, instead of accepting the high MSG level, positioned Maggi as a victim of the entire process. On October 19, 2015, Nestle launched a full front page print campaign in TOI, Delhi to convey the message that “Your Maggi is SAFE, and has always been”. The relaunch of the campaign was done four days after the instant noodle brand cleared ordered testes by Bombay High Court.
Earlier in August 2015 (i.e. just before the relaunch), Nestle created a buzz through TVCs and social media marketing. The company launched a series of TV commercials addressing the loyalists captioning -“We miss you too”. In between these commercials, the brand name was not at all uttered, but all of them ended with Maggi’s logo and a hashtag “#WeMissYouToo“. This hashtag in turn was used across all the social media channels to communicate and interact with the brand loyalists of Maggi.
To resonate a better brand recall, the parent company Nestle drastically increased its spending on TVC’s, leading to a growth of its ad volume to about 96 per cent by September, 2015.
Also playing with the mind of its consumers and to create a sense of exclusivity and belonging, Maggi partnered with Snapdeal to announce the comeback of the heroic brand in the market. The exclusive strategy was an instant hit and the entire inventory was sold out very quickly. Customers tried to outbid each other for the ownership and bought packets paying a higher amount. All this set a perfect stage for Nestle and motivated them to re-launch the product across the country.
The result of the entire campaign was ecstatic and soon consumers got their beloved brand back in their shelves.
“Over the years, Maggi has proved its worth and it is definitely not just another food product, but a life saver for many young customers”.